ofe-comment-250209-final
2 pages
English
Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres

ofe-comment-250209-final

-

Le téléchargement nécessite un accès à la bibliothèque YouScribe
Tout savoir sur nos offres
2 pages
English

Description

thOFE Comment 25 February 20 09UK Gov ernment Announcement - Open source, Open standards and Re-Use: Government Action Plan Yesterday the UK Government published its lon g expected up date to its po licy on Open Source a nd Open Standar ds. As someo ne who has vocally critic ised the UK as bei ng a 'laggard i n Europe', I am de lighted to se e it pu blished and warml y welcome it. I congratulate the CIO's team on its prod uction. A survey to be p ublished shortly by Public Sector Forums at their co nference in Apr il will show that on e of the issues h olding back Open Sourc e adoption in Loca l Government was 'lack of centra l leadership' - this announcement is highly timely.Being realistic it pro bably doesn't go as far as some other countries, notab ly the Netherlands, but it is an enorm ous step forward. No dou bt in seeking to avoid the wailing of those still tr ying to protect the status quo, it is highly pragmatic a nd practical in its ch oice of words. Without doubt the headlines will focus o n Open Source but actual ly there is more of interest in that it has acce pted the need to avoid lock-in to pro prietary sol utions, to recognise that lifetime costs must include exit and transiti on costs, and to requ ire the use of Open Standards. These are exactl y the words and actio ns that OFE and its memb ers have been camp aigning for across Europ e, as be ing esse ntial if we are to take advantage of the i nnovation and cost advantages availab le ...

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Nombre de lectures 36
Langue English

Exrait

thOFE Comment 25 February 20 09
UK Gov ernment Announcement - Open source, Open standards and Re-Use:
Government Action Plan
Yesterday the UK Government published its lon g expected up date to its po licy on Open
Source a nd Open Standar ds. As someo ne who has vocally critic ised the UK as bei ng a
'laggard i n Europe', I am de lighted to se e it pu blished and warml y welcome it. I
congratulate the CIO's team on its prod uction. A survey to be p ublished shortly by Public
Sector Forums at their co nference in Apr il will show that on e of the issues h olding back
Open Sourc e adoption in Loca l Government was 'lack of centra l leadership' - this
announcement is highly timely.
Being realistic it pro bably doesn't go as far as some other countries, notab ly the
Netherlands, but it is an enorm ous step forward. No dou bt in seeking to avoid the wailing
of those still tr ying to protect the status quo, it is highly pragmatic a nd practical in its ch oice
of words. Without doubt the headlines will focus o n Open Source but actual ly there is more
of interest in that it has acce pted the need to avoid lock-in to pro prietary sol utions, to
recognise that lifetime costs must include exit and transiti on costs, and to requ ire the use
of Open Standards. These are exactl y the words and actio ns that OFE and its memb ers
have been camp aigning for across Europ e, as be ing esse ntial if we are to take advantage
of the i nnovation and cost advantages availab le now and in the future. Until now, the issue
of lock-in h as scarcely be en mentioned in UK circ les, ye t previous OFE ana lysis has
suggested up to 90% of the public sector no longer have freedom of choic e over next
solutions, because of past dec isions ma de. That was a terrib le ind itement. This n ew pol icy
should act as the trig ger to review that position. The ver y sug gestion that exit and
transition costs have to be i ncluded up front in the choice of a sol ution will put in focus just
how much cost is assoc iated with 'mer e' upgrades, and new alternatives will have a much
more level pl aying fie ld on which to work.
The requ irement 'for solutions to comp ly with ope n standards' (for intero perability) is
probably the sin gle most important first step that the Government can make if it really
means b usiness. Elsewhere in Europe this req uirement has been do gged by co ntroversy,
either over use in a wa y that suggests somethi ng more than go ing throu gh a formal
standardisation process, or a view on l icense terms. The EC and governments elsewhere
are, howe ver, quite right in us ing the term to defi ne a degree of op enness n ot just of the
process b ut in its resu lting use, freely al lowing use of any bus iness mod el – proprietary or
open source. Open Standards pr ovide the gl ue for interoperability between solutions,
proprietary and o pen source, an d rightly form a fundamental pl ank in any Governments
plans.
For OFE, it is goo d to see ye t anoth er endorsement of Open Do cument Formats(ODF).
This is y et another confirm ation of support b y a national government, joining a lo ng list of
others. It also sup ports the us e of 'emer ging open versions of previously propr ietary
standards'. PDF is name d, corr ectly since it is already in widespread use, but incidentally
incorrectly lists ISO 19005. This is PDF/A (the existing arch iving standard) - I think it
should be ISO 32000? More controversial ly OOXML is liste d – sinc e no product has be en
released sup porting it this does se em a little premature?
The overall ann ouncement seeks to ach ieve a level pl aying fie ld. The p olicy is a gre at first
step but achieving a level pl aying fie ld is more than a set of words. Lock-i n occurs not just by the a dherence to Ope n Standards for interoperability, but a
whole set of asp ects which cover ar eas such as availab ility of comm ercial support, terms
and co nditions, availa bility of drivers etc. Acr oss Europe OFE has b een le ading work in
partnership with another natio nal government to analyse this and sugg est pr actical
methods by which such lo ck-in can be avoide d. OFE will of course b e delighted to make
this informati on freely availab le to see how it can be use d in the UK.
And this is where it gets re ally difficu lt. It is excellent that the Po licy is accomp anied by an
Action Pla n. Eac h of the 10 actio ns listed are cha llenging and the real test is how eac h of
then will be rea lised. No ne more so than in Proc urement. This is where fin e words nee d to
turned i nto practice, where education of users, purch asing officers an d suppliers will be as
important as w ritten gu idance. W hat monitor ing contro ls will be put in place? What
practical support will be mad e available, by whom? How will this b e implemented in ma jor
outsourced contracts? Elsewhere the term 'open pr ocurement' has b een coi ned – this is a
good phrase which succi nctly describes the objective as well as the tools curre ntly to
hand. Today , we talk ab out Open Standards an d Open Source, tomorrow we will be
talking about SaaS, clou d computing and the accessi bility of perso nal data.
The UK Government has now declared the pol icy, the sceptics ar e already saying 'we
have heard it all b efore', 'its noth ing more than a reacti on to recent comments from the
Conservatives', or 'its a reaction to Treasur y pressur e to make savings'. Certai nly little
happened in the way of direct action after the previous Policy statement in 200 4. So the
ball is firml y back in the court of the CIO John Suffolk on how he is going to ac hieve it and
prove the sceptics wrong.
To turn this Po licy into practic al positive results we al l need to give ful l support to the n ext
steps. OFE for on e, will be offerin g its ful l and active sup port, an d with its partners and
members b elieves it h as much to offer on the practica l side. Let the cam paigning stop a nd
lets get on wi th de livering the results.
Graham Ta ylor